Sabic Innovative Plastics LP is moving ahead with its plans to establish a new technology center in Shanghai, but in the meantime continues to lease space within a large General Electric Corp. technical and applications development center.
Sabic IP is selecting land in the Pudong region of Shanghai and is in talks with local government officials, according to Peter Chan, the firm's Shanghai-based president for greater China.
In an interview at the Chinaplas 2009 show, Chan said he expects the new research, development and customer technology center to be ready by the end of next year, at the soonest, though it may slide into the first half of 2011. The new facility also will serve as the Asia Pacific headquarters for Sabic IP of Pittsfield, Mass., formerly GE Plastics.
A few years ago, GE Plastics shifted its Asian head office from Tokyo to Shanghai and built a huge technology center in Pudong.
After Saudi Arabia's Saudi Basic Industries Corp. acquired GE Plastics for $11.6 billion in 2007, it renamed the business and prompted the need for Sabic IP to extract its research and applications development work from the GE facility.
Chan said his firm, which he described as the biggest compounder of engineering thermoplastics in China, is adding new compounding capacity in the third phase of a previously reported expansion in Nansha, in the southern part of the country. This will boost output mostly of polycarbonate and some PC/ABS compounds.
Chan called it a big expansion, but declined to otherwise quantify it.
We see the recovery, Chan said of activity in the consumer electronics field, but for how long at the current rate?
Processors in China did a lot of restocking of depleted resin inventories in the first quarter of 2009, and the general pickup in quarter two represents a positive trend, he said.
Chan said Sabic has put a lot of resources into understanding the Chinese government's economic stimulus efforts but declined to comment on the firm's findings so far.
He did suggest that a lot of local Chinese manufacturers definitely are running more higher-end materials, such as those offered by Sabic's LNP subsidiary.